In a world becoming increasingly fast and impatient, the importance of visuals is taking on a new meaning.
During the forced slow-down of the recent coronavirus pandemic, we all had to tone down the fast-paced lifestyle which had been gaining momentum with each passing year. Some of us took the opportunity to find time to read, to do spring cleaning, to cook, to invest in family time – all simple activities that have over time become less popular due to careers, engagements and socialising. For a short while they may have been appreciated, maybe reluctantly, but the minute the measures were eased, everyone rushed to go back to the speedy way of living like there’s no tomorrow.
All this ties in to the subject of this article. We barely have time to read long letters or articles let alone detailed social posts. Social media has evolved too. In these past 16 years since the inception of the social media revolution, I have seen with bare eyes the shift from text content to visual stimulation. Whichever online provider you look at, you’ll see it. Online newspapers attract readers with big photos accompanied by short and catchy titles. Facebook rejects visuals with more than 20% text occupancy for cleaner campaigns moving away from the traditional hard selling techniques. We have seen the explosion of Instagram, a social platform that is based solely on the impact of photography. Websites are now mostly built with full screen imagery and just enough content to deliver the message.
Why? Exactly because no one has time or patience to read paragraphs upon paragraphs of information, unless it’s a book maybe and I’m not saying that’s a healthy behaviour. We’re all increasing our multi-tasking skills and usually access social platforms from hand held devices whilst engaged in other activities like waiting for an appointment, watching TV, standing in a queue, sunbathing, travelling or even at table in restaurants (this is actually a bad habit and should be highly discouraged!), making our concentration very limited. So here are a few good reasons why it’s important for businesses to invest in good photography/videography material for a high quality media library:
1. images replace words. Just like the need of a good content-writer, images need to be excellent quality so amateurish photos/illustrations are just not good enough to leave an impact.
2. visuals represent your business just like articles. If the images you post are low-quality, it is assumed that your business is on the same level. You wouldn’t want to pass on such a message, right?
3. The human brain is attracted more to colour and designs than text, it’s quite simple. The impact remains imprinted in your mind which processes the message behind an image.
4. Like love, visuals speak a universal language! If you have a multi-national audience to speak to, visuals do not need expensive and extensive translations, at most they might need adaptations and short phrase translations.
5. No matter how imaginative your content-writer is, no words can describe a product or service as good as an image/video of it. This is why a good quality professional photo/video is needed, be it in terms of resolution, perspective and content. Furthermore, such visuals can also be used to complement online campaigns with other traditional marketing channels like billboard advertising, newspaper ads, brochures … there is no need to recreate campaigns if the core visual is already excellent quality.
In all this let’s not forget the basics of visual content:
– whether you choose a professional photographer/videographer to take photos/videos which will represent your business online, or be it a social media user who tags your brand with photos of your product or service, make sure the quality is high enough to generate immediate attention for positive engagement and attract new potential followers hopefully turning them into customers. I also encourage more use of videos, no matter how short and/or detailed depending on the use, and with today’s technologies the costs have decreased considerably. It is estimated that people remember 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, but 70% of what they hear and see.
– engage a professional digital designer to adapt your visuals with superimposed logos/titles/prices or create illustrations but always keep in mind that less is more. You can always link visuals from a social media account to a landing page on your website to provide more information. This benefits your website traffic anyway, which should remain the core objective of your sales & marketing activities.
– make sure you have a web developer who is up to date with technology, devices and social media. All 3 need to speak well together to engage with customers, users and followers. It is useless having wow photography on a poor performing or outdated website, and vice versa. Today’s websites need to adapt to a multitude of user devices in terms of sizes and versions, the professional term is “responsiveness”.
Taking all the above into consideration it may be perceived as expensive and unnecessary however statistics and historical data prove that the return on investment is worthwhile. Don’t let last minute, rushed decisions or an ill-conceived and short-sighted urge to save on the cost of eye-catching content make your online presence look shabby and cheap.
Written for The Sunday Times of Malta by Alison Casha (Founder at Socialogy™) one of the first marketers with a 20 year strong career and practical experience to believe in social media as one of the most important marketing/customer care channels for any business which believes in the importance of customer satisfaction and real time engagement.
Socialogy™, “The Art of Social Marketing” provides cost-effective and sustainable social media marketing to SME’s and marketing agencies at a European level. Whatever the job, Socialogy™ will always show maximum respect towards our planet.